Game 105, Twins at Mariners

marc w · July 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Kyle Gibson, 1:10 pm

Sorry about yesterday’s unannounced day off – glad it worked out on a game that 1) wasn’t televised and 2) featured one of the worst offensive performances of the year. Kind of felt like a lot of took yesterday off.

The M’s look to get a split in the series with Erasmo Ramirez facing off against the Twins’ top pitching prospect coming into 2013, Kyle Gibson. Gibson’s a projectable 6’6″ righty with a hard sinker thrown at around 93-94mph. He pairs this with a slider at 85-86 and a change-up vs. lefties that comes in at the same speed as the slider. Coming up through the minors, the college-trained Gibson (U. of Missouri) posted only so-so strikeout rates and RAs, giving rise to some concerns that he couldn’t miss bats at higher levels despite above-average velocity and command of two other pitches. Beyond the raw stats, he had a string of serious arm injuries as well – a stress fracture during college and then Tommy John surgery in 2011. He returned near the end of the 2012 season, and then played in the Arizona Fall League (for the same team as the M’s prospects James Paxton and Nick Franklin). Any concern that he’d left a few MPH on the operating table were quickly erased, as he came out throwing FBs by some good hitters and getting tons of grounders. He carried that impressive stint into 2013 as well, posting a better FIP in AAA than he had in AA.

It’s probably not a big surprise that a sinker/slider pitcher in the Twins organization is not going to be challenging any strikeout records. When he’s on, he uses the sinker to get grounders, though he can get plenty of strikeouts to righties with his slider. The problem is that his change isn’t really a swing-and-miss pitch, and the sinker’s got larger platoon splits than a four-seam fastball. Thus far, he’s given up 8 free passes to lefties against just 3 strikeouts (negligble sample size alert). In the minors, he had similar issues, with a K rate far, far greater against righties. His overall splits don’t look all that extreme, however, because of either an odd fluke or a problem with hanging sliders: Since 2011, at all levels, he’s given up 18 home runs to right-handed batters against just 2 to lefties. Again, he can’t strike lefties out, and he has no problem getting righties to swing and miss, but when they DO make contact, righties have occasionally hit it a long way. Again, this is a small sample including minor league data, so it’s not like Gibson is conclusively “good” at limiting HRs to lefties, but it’s an interesting/counterintuitive stat.

Erasmo Ramirez was better in his last start against Cleveland, but he’s still not back to his 2012 form. The biggest culprit thus far has been his change-up, a pitch that looked dominant at times in 2012 and has looked like a work-in-progress this season. In 2012, he gave up one HR on his change in 187 pitches, and batters missed on nearly 50% of their swings on the pitch. They still miss quite a few (~40% of swings), but batters have hit two HRs out of 55 HRs, and he’s missed the zone more frequently (from 33% balls in 2012 to 51% this year). I think we all assumed *some* amount of regression from a pitch that looked like a cheat code last year, but I bet his struggles this year have a lot to do with his injuries and the time off he spent waiting for the all-clear on his elbow. I’m hoping we see the healthy, effective version of Erasmo in September.

1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, 1B
5: Ibanez, DH
6: Saunders, LF
7: Chavez, RF
8: Ackley, CF
9: Blanco, C
SP: Erasmo Ramirez

I’m guessing Erasmo Ramirez knows that fellow Nicaraguan pitcher Dennis Martinez pitched a perfect game on this date in 1991. El Presidente’s Expos beat the Dodgers 2-0 at Chavez Ravine.

James Paxton continued his fine run of form last night, but took the hard-luck loss as Tacoma lost to Reno, 1-0. It was Paxton’s second CG of the year. Paxton’s looked lost for most of the year, combining wildness with a lack of stamina, but he certainly seems to have figured something out. He’s averaged 7IP in July, and has 27Ks to just 6 BBs in the month.

Brandon Maurer was recalled in exchange for Hector Noesi. Maurer’s struggled in AAA, but Hector Noesi’s struggled more, so…

Today’s MiLB starters include Victor Sanchez for Clinton, Eddie Campbell for Pulaski, and Andrew Carraway for Tacoma.


43 Responses to “Game 105, Twins at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 12:22 pm

    I’m wondering if calling up Maurer right now is being penny wise, pound foolish – on the face of it, it seems like one reason for choosing him might be because calling him up won’t cost the team an option on some other pitcher. Or maybe they just don’t have anyone else that’s suitable?

  2. Sports on a Shtick on July 28th, 2013 1:17 pm

    Hopefully this weekend nudges the front office to sell and not hold out hope for a miracle run.

  3. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 1:34 pm

    Hard to see what they could sell with any expectation of a meaningful return…

  4. scraps on July 28th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Hopefully this weekend nudges the front office to sell and not hold out hope for a miracle run.

    God, yes. And the hopeful fans, too. Right now the Mariners’ playoff odds (per are 0.7 (not seventy percent, but less than 1 percent).

    I don’t want to trade Iwakuma, which many of you disagree with; but otherwise, sell (what we can get, anyway, which is probably not much).

  5. scraps on July 28th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Westside guy cuts in with a sad-but-true comment.

  6. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Totally agree with you on all points, Scraps.

    …As long as it’s not a Bavasi-esque “trade young talent for veterans” move.

  7. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:00 pm

    Great catch by Endy there!

  8. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 2:05 pm

    There’s been as many as 32 stolen bases? I can’t remember the last time that I saw one.

  9. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 2:10 pm

    When did Ibanez become a Twin?

    ….And now he’s at the plate for the M’s? One of them is an imposter!

  10. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:11 pm

    That was right field, Steve – so it was Morse as a Twin. 😀

  11. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 2:18 pm

    Ah, now it makes sense!

  12. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Wow that was a huge homer by Condor!

  13. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Nice job Michael

  14. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:22 pm

    Steve, it’s sad that we have equally incompetent fielders available for both corners…

  15. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:22 pm

    Nice hustle by Endy there, too.

  16. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:23 pm

    383 feet – that’s all?

  17. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:29 pm


  18. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 2:29 pm

    Oh well, that’s very nice.

  19. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 2:29 pm

    Little Nicky!

  20. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 2:35 pm

    Okay, now they’re saying 428 feet. That makes more sense.

  21. Cresswell on July 28th, 2013 2:47 pm

    There’s something to be said for team-building. Don’t break up the units that begin to work together, and don’t make players feel they are interchangeable. So if Ms deal, they need to look for those same pieces – young guys who can be a part of a 2015-2018 team that makes a real run. Sell age and experience and veteran leadership for a right-fielder who can get on base, a real long reliever, maybe a potential closer down the road. And keep that infield, including Zunino. If no one wants the old guys, shrug and walk away. Kids stay with us.

  22. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 2:48 pm

    Backing up a bit to the speculation over Maurer’s return, the reasoning given really doesn’t make sense. How does using him for long relief help him as a starter in the long-term? He still struggles with lefties.

    Noesi’s bad, I get that. But is it worth possibly screwing with Maurer’s development?

  23. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 2:57 pm

    How many pitches are they going to let Ramirez throw?

  24. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 2:58 pm

    *sigh* Bullpen call, please.

  25. msfanmike on July 28th, 2013 3:12 pm

    Maybe its team picture day, Steve … And Maurer is simply easier on the eyes.

    I wonder if Ryan Doumit could be acquired and hold down the C position (with others) until Zunino returns. He would not be the worst defensive catcher this organization has ever had – and he can “play” other positions when needed. He is certainly a much better hitter than anybody the team has now – behind the plate.

    As far as other trade possibilities, I agree with some of the above – improve if possible with some young or at least youngish players. As long as there is a way to improve the team – and its future – that’s all we can ask for.

  26. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 3:15 pm

    That went better than I hoped. The little FAQ’s been a bit scary lately.

  27. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 3:19 pm

    I miss when they threw money at A-Rod during his visits to Safeco. Those were the days…And I bet in a perverse way, he misses them. At least someone cared. Now everyone just wants him to go away.

  28. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 3:22 pm

    What a pretty swing on that young man.

  29. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 3:23 pm

    Wow! Little Nicky calls on the dark prince once again!

  30. stevemotivateir on July 28th, 2013 3:24 pm

    Funny, Mike! Watch, they’re filming a new Head & Shoulders/Old Spice commercial!

  31. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 3:44 pm

    Have I previously made the observation that Henry Blanco looks just like some of the guys I see pushing shopping carts containing all their belongings along the roads in Seattle?

  32. juneau_fan on July 28th, 2013 3:48 pm

    You said that he looked 60 after I said he looked ridden hard and put away wet and like someone’s crazy old uncle. Between the two of us, I think we covered it.

    Bartender up. That extra run is going to be needed.

  33. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 3:48 pm

    Nice DP!

  34. msfanmike on July 28th, 2013 3:48 pm

    Sweet turn, Nicky!!!

  35. pgreyy on July 28th, 2013 3:49 pm

    I like the enthusiasm from Nick, too. It’s been awhile since it was safe for any of the M’s other than Felix to show that some of what they do matters.

  36. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 3:51 pm

    I do miss seeing some of Ryan’s spectacular plays, but not as much as I thought I would. Miller and Franklin are turning me into a believer – it’ll be fun watching them turn double plays together for many years!

  37. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 3:51 pm

    Woo hoo!

  38. Westside guy on July 28th, 2013 3:57 pm

    Brad Miller says Chavez “continues to get on base for these guys”.

    Brad, I’ve got nothing against Endy but – OBP is tracked, and Endy’s isn’t great. It’s not horrid, but it’s not even league average.

  39. WalterNeff on July 28th, 2013 8:58 pm

    My brother calls Blanco “Machete”

  40. NorahW on July 29th, 2013 11:18 am

    Meanwhile, Jason Bay has been DFA’d and Mike Morse has been activated, according the the MLB Trade Rumors site.

  41. Westside guy on July 29th, 2013 11:53 am

    Sheesh. Bay and Morse are basically the same player in terms of “value” this year – but those start-of-the-season dingers are probably going to outweigh all the rest-of-the-season suckitude from Morse.

  42. scraps on July 29th, 2013 12:06 pm

    Yeah. But I don’t care. Bay shouldn’t have been signed, and the fact that Bay played his way on the team in spring training was groan-worthy.

  43. Westside guy on July 29th, 2013 12:18 pm

    Agreed, Scraps.

    I’ve said it before, but my problem wasn’t actually with any one of the off-season signings… it was the fact Z made THREE of them. 😀

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